Emmett Chappelle, retired research scientist from
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., has been named
one of 16 inductees for 2007 into the National Inventors Hall of
Fame. The honorees will be inducted during ceremonies May 4-5, in
Akron, Ohio.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame was founded in 1973. The
recognition honors innovators who have changed society and improved
the way we live.

Chappelle was chosen for his work with Lyophilized Reaction Mixtures.
His work revealed that a specific combination of chemicals causes all
living organisms to omit light. Through his discovery, Chappelle
facilitated important findings within the fields of biology and
chemistry. His research efforts led to the development of remote
sensing of vegetation health through laser-induced fluorescence. He
also developed techniques used to detect bacteria in urine, blood,
spinal fluids, drinking water and foods.

“I really enjoyed my time at Goddard,” Chappelle stated just after the
official inductees list was announced. “The people made it a great
place for me to do my research, and I really appreciate that NASA
allowed me to conduct such important research there.” When asked what
he misses the most about working at Goddard he simply responded, “The

Chappelle first began work for NASA in 1963 while a senior biochemist
at the Hazelton Laboratories, Falls Church, Va. In 1966, he began
working at the Goddard Space Flight Center as an exobiologist and,
later, as an astrochemist. Chappelle retired from Goddard in January

Born in Phoenix, Chappelle received his bachelor’s degree in
biochemistry from the University of California at Berkley in 1950.
Until 1952, he was an instructor in biochemistry at Meharry Medical
College, Nashville, Tenn. Chappelle then earned a master’s degree in
biochemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle, graduating
in 1954.

From 1956 to 1958, he was a research associate for the Department of
Chemistry at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. Chappelle then
worked as a staff scientist for the Marrietta Corporation, Baltimore,
Md., until 1963.

During his 34-year Goddard career, Chappelle’s innovative research led
to 14 United States patents and many awards for his work, including
the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award. Chappelle produced
more than 35 peer-reviewed scientific or technical publications,
nearly 50 conference papers, and co-authored or edited numerous
publications. He also has been recognized as one of the top one
hundred African Americans scientists and engineers of the 20th
century, as documented in the Museum of Black Innovations and